Per usual, I had big plans for Christmas crafts, actually baking, great gifts, and Christmas cards. But this year, ain’t nobody got time for that.
But I did make the “Silent Night” artwork on the mantle, and decorated the house, and the tree. And since we didn’t get family Christmas pictures taken, I took a few of Edison under the tree.
Edison has loved the lights and ornaments!
Christmas festivities included tree shopping, going to see Winter Wonder – a Christmas production by Scottsdale Bible Church, watching Elf and enjoying fires in the fireplace.
We opened presents as a family, and Edison got to try out the bouncer we got him, before we flew to Iowa the next day. He was a trooper! He fell asleep before the first takeoff, was content to suck on his pacifier or bottle for the landing and next takeoff, and only cried during the last landing, which was a little rough for all of us. He had no problem getting through security, and since we’d figured out a few days before that he liked being in the infant carrier if he faces out and can see all the people, that made it easy to transport him around the airports.
Since we’ve been in Iowa, we celebrated Christmas with Brian’s immediate family Christmas Eve morning, my immediate family Christmas Eve evening, then drove two hours that night so we could celebrate Christmas morning with Brian’s extended family, leaving early afternoon to celebrate with my extended family, and then driving back to spend the night with Brian’s extended family. Then we visited with Brian’s extended-extended family the next morning, and early afternoon make the trek back to Brian’s parents’ house, where we’re staying. And then we took long naps.
This week, I’m trying to fit in more time with family and friends, while not overdoing it. I’ve figured out that as much as Edison likes people, he needs time to recharge, which has meant crying most of the day on Monday and refusing to sleep. But we’re figuring it out, one day at a time. And seeing my family enjoy spending time with him is totally worth it.
Edison turned five months! Even in the time we’ve been here, he’s started sitting up mostly on his own, rolling over more, making lots of new sounds, and sometimes I’m pretty sure he recognizes his name. He’s chewing ferociously on everything, but no teeth yet!
I got my wish for a white Christmas! And then some – we got hit with a blizzard, which allowed us some much needed down time for naps and working on New Year’s Resolutions.
Travel, snow, family, friends, decorating cookies, cozy pajamas, great presents, sleeping in late and drinking hot apple cider out of giant mugs – it’s almost like a story out of the Hallmark Christmas movies we’ve been staying up late to watch. Minus dumping the handsome attorney for the rugged country boy, and having to choose between a promotion in the big city and said rugged country boy. In this story, I will still go back to the big city, and I’ll take my rugged country boy with me!
Merry Christmas from us! I hope you have a fantastic New Year!
For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted for Christmas this year. The idea of getting lots of “stuff” just was not appealing. But gift-giving at Christmas is such a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to others – not just just the person you’re giving a gift to, but also the companies and workers you support by your purchase.
In years past, I’ve shared gift guides for gifts that give back, but this year, I don’t really have time for that. You know those “what’s in my purse” posts? I thought I’d adapt that, and share what’s on my Christmas list this year.
1. Black Metallic Desert Wedges. I love, love, love every pair of TOMs I’ve owned, but I’ve never tried anything other than flats. I’ve also never ever worn ankle booties. I could really use a new black pair of shoes for work, and instead of getting another pair of flats, I’d like to add these shoes that give a pair of shoes to someone else.
3. #GIRLBOSS. “In the New York Times bestseller that the Washington Post called “Lean In for misfits,” Sophia Amoruso shares how she went from dumpster diving to founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.” I think this is basically required reading for 20 something women these days, and it sounds fascinating.
5. Moscow Mule Mugs. Because, copper. I can’t get enough. Honestly, I could see myself drinking hot chocolate out of these. How cozy would that be?
6. Causebox by Sevenly. This would be like Christmas every few months! It’s a subscription box filled with ethically made, goodies that give back. It’s not cheap . . . so a Sevenly Giftcard to go toward a shirt or print would also be much appreciated!
Not pictured: a lot more books, and some Disney/Pixar animated movies – namely, UP and Wall-E.
For more gift ideas that give back, you have to listen to The Happy Hour Podcast’s Christmas episode. So many great ideas! And Jen Hatmaker. Seriously, it’s a gift just to listen in! And, I’ve got a Gifts that Give Back pinterest board for more inspiration.
How’s your Christmas shopping going? I have started … sort of. The problem I have, is that I find cool things, and then I want to keep them for myself. Anyone else? Let me know in the comments below!
Brian did the Arizona Half-Ironman! It’s a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride, and topped off with a half marathon. Yeah. I was more than a little concerned for him going into it, since he hadn’t been able to train all that much with helping me take care of Edison. But he did it! And my sister-in-law, Edison, and I were there to cheer him all all seven and a half hours of it. I’m so proud!
It was a tiring day for all of us.
Speaking of tired, Edison has had a slow time adjusting to sleeping at daycare. He usually only takes very short naps there, when I’m working from home with him the next day, he’s very sleepy and snuggly.
In the last couple weeks, he’s improved his fine motor skills. Pulling this little blanket’s ribbons into his mouth, and burying his face in it, are some of his new favorite things to do.
Reaching new heights!
Going back to work has been … challenging. Beyond what I imagine is normal – I have a new boss, a new job, my entire department has been restructured … and many other challenges that I can’t go into here.
But I recently read this quote, and it sums up my perspective. I know that I’m capable of learning to do whatever I set my mind to and making it great, so there’s no sense in wasting energy on the past.
The sunsets lately have been incredible.
Our little man turned three months old! Look at those smiles!
He’s starting to look like a toddler, and my heart can’t handle it.
At daycare, he made his first art! He painted this pumpkin with his feet. Clearly, my baby is a genius.
With all the drama at work, Halloween snuck up on me. I had to improvise with what I had already for Edison’s costume. I figured that if we took Edison trick-or-treating, our neighbors might see through that, so I’m hoping that next year we’ll have a reason to get dressed up as a family (including Sirius!).
Since it is actually a little chilly, Edison decided he’d prefer to be a sailor for Halloween.
That’s a bit of life lately! I hope you had a safe and fun Halloween!
Out of curiosity, how old were your kids when you first took them trick-or-treating? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.
Happy Friday! Just a handful of things/blogs/shops/articles that I found inspiring, encouraging, or entertaining:
1. The Happy Hour Podcast with Jamie Ivey. Disclaimer: I’ve only listened to one episode so far. Disclaimer to my disclaimer: that’s all it took for me to know that this podcast is excellent. It really is like sitting with your best girlfriends for happy hour, except that in this case your girlfriends are all the authors, bloggers, artists, and creative women you admire from around the whole internet. So you should gather the real life girlfriends you admire, and tell them to listen to this podcast with you, during happy hour.
3. “Make Room” Advent Calendar and Devotional from Naptime Diaries. I love Advent. Well, I should say, I love the idea of Advent. Don’t we all want to slow down and savor the true meaning of the Christmas season? I’m just really bad at it. This advent calendar and devotional would provide that motivation and accountability. Plus, it’s just pretty.
4. Life Lived Beautifully Fashion Week with Gretchen. I so enjoyed Gretchen’s series last week on fashion from a Biblical perspective. This post especially, Fashion and Real Life, is chock full of practical advice. Gretchen has a four month old, and I have an almost three month old, so if she can get dressed every day, I can too! She introduced me to several new ethical fashion brands that I’m excited to check out.
5. New and improved Decor and Storage Ideas for Your Dorm Room (And Other Small Spaces) Part one and Part 2. Can you believe that Pinterest wasn’t even really a thing when I first wrote those posts?! I’m almost considered old in blogging years. So this week I took some time (actually, a TON of time, like, days) to fix all the broken links and images for things that no longer existed, and added brand new thrifty decorating and storage ideas that you can try out really anywhere you need to maximize your storage or add a little flair.
That’s what I found this week! What about you? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram.
Sleek, modern, pure, and accented with gold and soft pastels. As much as I admire the Scandinavian look (and Bonnie’s office above is LOVELY) that workspace just doesn’t work for me. I’d feel like I’d always need my nails done, fresh peonies, and a latte in order to work. It’s just not sustainable.
Creativity is messy! However, there’s a big difference between a messy creative process and a messy, chaotic office. Outer calm creates inner calm. You want to be more productive? Clean off your desk. And your husband’s desk? Well, turn your chair so you can’t see it.
Here’s what our office started with: a recipe for mediocrity. Beige walls – check. Bland shaggy carpet – check. Carpet infested with cat fur – also check. Dog won’t stop peeing on said carpet because of said cat fur – check. Tearing out the carpet first thing – CHECK.
Where to even begin?
The balance of serenity and warmth is why I tore this photo out of Better Homes and Gardens years ago. I like the productivity boosting color scheme of blues and grays with natural textures – modern, but with warmth.
I’m inspired by this living room styled by Emily Henderson. The patterned chair, gold and brass accents, contrasting colors – it’s exciting, but not overwhelming.
Apparently, I really like patterned chairs. For my office inspiration boards, I’m going to start there, with a vintage accent chair find from Chairish.
I had a hard time choosing just one vintage chair to be the focal point – this one was a close second. With the centerpiece chosen, we can build outward and make it our own. I took my inspiration in two different ways – classic and wildcard.
For this style board, I started with the BHG photo and added the navy gallery wall from HomeDit, but I also made it more bright and colorful with light blue and yellow.
I like the contrast of the ornate gold frames on the navy background, and the sunny Stockholm rug from Ikea repeats the shape of the mirrors and adds warmth to the floor that’s missing in the inspiration photo. While the desk doesn’t have the weathered look of the metal one, you could always rough it up with sandpaper, if you really wanted.
The magazine files, storage baskets, and light fixture add color, texture, and well, light, to illuminate your excellent organization. As for the print, my decor philosophy is to always add a little something French. You really can’t go wrong.
Party time! These colors feel so happy. Hot pink accents punch up the energy while the pool blue of the desk chair and curtains and white desk keep things simple. The light, pillow, and table add sparkle, but the patterned chair remains the focal point. In this room, I’d use the chair and side table to make a little reading nook.
I showed both style boards to Brian, and guess which one he liked best? He said the second one doesn’t feel like an office. But maybe that’s the point – if it feels cozy and fun, we’ll want to spend more time there.
Although I can see the hot pink being a deterrent for one of us.
I’ll try to post update on what we’ve done since ripping out the carpet soon.
So, what do you think? Would you pick the classic navy, blue and yellow, or go for the wildcard hot pink?
Let me know which is your favorite in the comments below, on Instagram, or Facebook.
I wrote this letter to Edison about ten days before he was born. It’s hard to believe he’s eleven weeks old already! Our newborn photos were taken by Sophia Brown Photography.
Today I tried to imagine how you might look – I pictured you running through a forest with sandy blonde hair and freckles. Maybe your hair has a little curl to it. If it’s red and curly like your Aunt Evi’s, I’ll thank the Lord every day.
Maybe your hair is stick straight and brown, and your eyes are just like your daddy’s – blue and green, ever changing color. It was those eyes that made me fall in love with your daddy, you know. It was love at first sight; the first time I looked into those blue-green eyes. They stole my heart.
You’ll have a good sense of humor, probably a little on the cheesy side, like your dad. Maybe you’ll be introverted, like me, and love writing and reading. Or you’ll inherit your dad’s ability to make friends everywhere you go.
Maybe you’ll be the life of the party on your baseball team. Or basketball, since we already know you’ll be tall. But you know your dad has his heart set on teaching you everything he knows about baseball. You’ll also have to be a Yankees fan. We all do.
You’ll probably be prone to moods, like your parents, and have a sensitive heart. There’s no shame in crying during movies, or at the end of a good book. Trust us.
Maybe you’ll have a bit of mommy’s temper. Or, maybe you’ll take after your dad, and take everything in stride, long-suffering and patient. Except when driving. Oh, you’ll be driving before we know it! And then we’ll really know whose child you are.
I wonder if you’ll like math, or prefer art. Maybe you’ll be a scholar, or a philosopher, or an artist. Maybe you’ll be loud and athletic and vivacious. Maybe you’ll be some combination.
You’ll be like us, and yet in your own way.
We’ll see ourselves in you, and yet you’ll be all you, Edison.
There will be a week when we don’t go to the doctor! But this is not that week.
I began the week with a sore throat, and since strep has been going around … I just didn’t want to take any chances. The doctor gave me antibiotics just in case, but with as stuffy as my head feels today, I’m pretty sure it’s just a common cold, thankfully!
So, I’ve been chugging tea with honey, and taking lots of Cold-Eeze. Brian says they work for him, so I’m giving it a try. I even ate raw garlic. I hate being sick that much. It’s not for the faint of heart.
But let’s back up. Last weekend, I met my good friend and mentor for coffee. I’d think about getting together with her, and then put off sending a text. Or I’d get a text from her, and say “We need to have coffee!” but then never set a date. I finally decided this weekend I would just make it work. I felt so refreshed and encouraged afterwards!
My sister-in-law spent last weekend with us. We went to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, and I made a great discovery. I’d been having such a hard time watching Brian scarf down M&Ms in front of me (ok, so I did put them on the grocery list for him as a thank you for all the early morning feedings he does, and just generally for being a great husband) knowing that the pain a little milk protein causes Edison is not worth even one tiny M&M. But seriously folks, after a long day of taking care of a fussy baby, I just wanted some smooth chocolaty goodness to make me feel better.
So when I tasted Stonegrindz’ samples at the farmer’s market, you better believe I bought some! Dairy-free for the win!
And those cotton candy flavors – the peanut butter and jelly one was crazy good!
Per the doctors orders at his two month appointment, we worked with Edison on sleeping in his crib instead of just his swing a few times this week. Now he’s awake…
… and now he’s out.
He fell asleep in the time it took me to text his mom and sister-in-laws a picture of him in those pj’s. They’re a little too big still, but they belonged to his daddy when he was a baby. They must be very cozy!
Edison has not wanted to stay asleep when taking naps this week. The photo is blurry since the swing was still in motion, but this is his “I’m not going back to sleep and you can’t make me” face.
The only time he wants to sleep it seems is when mama is holding him. That means I haven’t done much else this week, but I have photographic proof of my excuse.
Who can resist that face? (Also, apparently I really like that striped shirt!)
I will admit that I start stressing out over how little I get done every day. Our floors haven’t been mopped in who knows how long, and the bathroom is starting to look like a research study of just how remarkably grimy a bathroom can become when only two people use it (it defies logic). Every time I walk by the sticky places on the floor or see the dust on the coffee table, I think: someone should probably clean that.
My mother-in-law has this beautiful poem hanging on her bedroom wall:
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
I also visited a daycare on Monday, and it impressed on me how little time I have left to spend just holding him as much as I want to. So the cleaning can wait.
Sirius is taking his role as nanny more seriously lately.
But he seems to think that entitles him to special privileges.
Guess who is sleeping through the night now! ALL OF US! With the exception of last Saturday night, after a day of being out and about and off his schedule, he’s going on about two weeks of eating between 8-10 pm, and then sleeping until between 4-6 am.
That means someone, aka me, is now getting up for that first early morning feeding so that Brian can go work out. His half Ironman triathlon (!!!) is coming up in a couple weeks, so every extra workout counts! I have never ever been a morning person, so this is taking some getting used to.
Edison is back to taking his reflux medicine. We’ve found that that combination of medicine plus dairy-free diet works really well, and without one or the other, after a few days Edison will start being in pain after eating and having a difficult time sleeping. And it takes at least a week for any milk product to leave my system, which is very motivational as far as keeping me from eating those M&Ms.
On Tuesday, I’d signed up for a group clinic with the lactation consultant and a pediatric chiropractor. It was really the only thing left that I hadn’t tried. Over the weekend, breastfeeding was as excruciating as always. Then of course, I got this cold. So on Monday night, I told Brian, “I just really don’t want to go.”
“Then don’t go.” He said. “This means you’re done, then, right?”
“Yes, I guess I’m done.”
And that was that. Not how I wanted this to end, but I’m ready. Yes, it’s time-consuming to have to feed Edison from a bottle and then pump afterwards. And I worried for a long time about missing out on the bonding experience, but I really think we’ve bonded just fine. I worried about how much we’d also spent on procedures and consultations and felt like if I just stuck it out a little longer, maybe it would work out. But I finally decided that enough was enough. Enough money, enough doctor appointments, and enough pain and frustration, on both my part and Edison’s.
I know some people who stuck it out for four months, and others who’ve told me if they had half of the issues I’ve had, they would have quit a long time ago. Ultimately, I know that now is the right time to stop for us. I plan to try again with the next baby, should God give us one!
Whew. That was really hard to share! I honestly didn’t think when I started sharing our post-baby troubles that this would be the conclusion, but it didn’t feel honest to not write it.
On a lighter note, I had a post-baby first today. While I was pumping, the doorbell rang. I turned and saw the pest control guy standing there, and I remembered in a flash that they were coming to spray our house TODAY. I got unhooked from the machine in record time!
2. With fall comes a renewed desire for adventure, and for those of us living in the valley, we can actually go outside without melting away in the sizzling heat.This looks like a fun fall bucket list. If you’re putting together one of your own, here’s a blank printable.
3. October makes me think of Harry Potter, and that makes me think … I need this mug for Christmas.
5. Fall means back to school time, and being the nerd I am, I miss it. If you’re with me, there’s good news: Craftsy is having a sale on classes; over 550 classes are $20 or less! You can add “Learn something new” to your fall bucket list!
What did you find last week that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook!
Long long ago, I shared the inspiration I’d gathered for decorating the living room for summer with a beach house nautical feel. I never did get around to painting the entry way navy, sadly, but I did still achieve the sophisticated Southern California vibe I wanted.
I kept the posters up that I used for my spring mantle because they worked so well with everything else. I think I might just keep them up year round, they go with everything, and they’re just my favorite.
The whiteboard in front of the fireplace…that’s just to keep Sirius from getting in there and dragging remnants of charred wood all over the rug, and leaving sooty footprints all over the house. Been there, done that.
Ah yes, the entry way. I love the little lanterns I got at Ikea, and the fishing net I got to keep after one of the baby showers. But this arrangement, and the gallery wall, are seriously lacking something. More things on the wall? Taller objects on the table?
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to bust out the fall decorations! Let’s get this pumpkin spice scented party started.
I own one tote of fall decor, which is a 50% increase since we bought the house. A little goes a surprisingly long way.
How fitting is that pillow? I bought that in Southern California along with the beachy items, but the burlap, red, and gray fit perfectly for fall. And it’s super comfy.
I bought navy and white pillow cases from this Etsy shop to give the pink and gold pillows a face-lift without having to buy and store more pillows. The anchor pillow in Edison’s room used to be out here on the couch also.
Better Homes and Gardens got the memo to match my teal and orange color scheme.
The globe is from Target, and the clock I’ve had so long, I’m not sure where it came from.
I realized as I arranged this that have “autumn wreath,” “cinnamon spice,” “farm stand apple,” and “cappuccino” scented candles, but I’m not sure I own a pumpkin spice candle! The horror!
And my sad entryway… it doesn’t help that the lighting was terrible, but I only have limited time before the little man wakes up from his nap. So if you have any ideas for this space, let me know in the comments below.
Anyone have a recommendation for where to find a good pumpkin spice candle? Let me know asap!
In the first six weeks of his life, Edison went to the doctor eight times. That doesn’t count two lab visits for tests. In the same time period, I went to Urgent Care three times and my OB twice, and met with a lactation consultant twice. So, seventeen doctor/lab/consultations? “Crazy” feels like an understatement. For awhile, it seemed like we did little besides go to appointments and the airport. But after two months, we’re finally starting to figure out our “new normal.”
After the last update I wrote, I planned to go to Urgent Care the next week to get the very itchy rash spreading across my chest checked out. But surprise! I woke up that Friday morning with mastitis a second time. I was surprised to discover that I could actually feel worse than I had before. Brian had gone to work, Edison was crying and needed to be fed, and even though I could barely move, somehow I warmed up a bottle for him and managed to feed him. Both of us were screaming. That was a low point.
While I strapped Edison into his car seat, he smiled for the first time! I cried some happy tears.
Then I realized that I couldn’t carry him to the car with one arm. I called a friend from church, and she just happened to be in the area – nothing short of miraculous. She dropped me off at the Urgent Care, took me to Walgreens, and watched Edison all afternoon until Brian got home. She was a lifesaver, and it was truly amazing.
My mother-in-law offered to come back for a week while I recovered, and we gladly accepted the invitation. When I saw the OB that Monday, I was still running a fever! They prescribed me a different antibiotic and an anti-fungal, and assured me that one of the two would take care of the rash.
But it didn’t.
In the meantime, after meeting with the lactation consultant again, I felt encouraged that things were going better. I breastfeed him the next three feedings, and promptly started bleeding again. So… back to square one there. But I also started eliminating milk products entirely from my diet. All along, I thought that avoiding the products with lactose would be good enough. But the lactation consultant explained that it’s milk proteins, stuff like whey, that’s the problem, and those are in a lot more than just dairy foods – we’re talking anything made with milk or butter.
On September 2nd, Edison had the lip-tie procedure. It turned out that he had a position 4 lip-tie that was indenting his gum, about as severe as you could get. Edison barely cried afterwards!
We had contemplated going to California for Labor Day, but we knew we’d have to leave on the same day as Edison’s lip-tie release, and I was still recovering from mastitis. Plus, we hadn’t taken him anywhere besides the doctor and airport to pick up and drop off family. But then, I figured that if we were going to be miserable, we might as well be miserable in California, where there’s an ocean. Right?
So we went. It wasn’t easy, but I’m really glad we did it. We needed the escape!
The next week, I saw a family practice doctor about the rash, and he thought it looked like hives since it had migrated to my elbows and thighs, and gave me two antihistamines to take.They didn’t seem to help much, but going to the doctor again was the last thing I wanted to do.
The 13th was Edison’s first Sunday at church! And also the last time he’ll be able to fit in his bow tie onesie, these pants, and these shoes that he wore for the first time that day. That’s what happens when you don’t get out much.
We had that week all to ourselves. Then my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew came to visit. Up to this point, that one smile on the day I had to go to Urgent Care was really the only one I’d seen. Then when these guys walked through the door, he immediately gave them a big smile! He really turned on the charm for them – smiles and giggles all week long!
My niece and nephew were so excited to meet their cousin. He’s so loved.
We went to the playground, spent time in the pool, drew countless pictures, visited an arts and innovation children’s museum, and the splash pad and playgrounds at Riverview Mesa. I’m already anticipating when Edison will be old enough to enjoy it!
He did like getting some pool time, even though it always wore him out.
“Arizona is so fun!” my niece said several times. I asked her the morning they left what was the most fun, between all the things we did that week. She answered without missing a beat: “Playing with Edison!”
On Sunday, Edison and I cheered on daddy as he swam/biked/ran his first Olympic distance triathlon!
The next day, our little man turned two months old!!!
This month, he’s started looking at people’s faces, and just last week, smiling and laughing in earnest. When he looks at you and smiles, it’s the most wonderful feeling! Everyone said it would melt my heart, and you guys were right.
His new favorite thing is playing “the running game,” when someone holds his feet and moves them back and forth as if he’s running, and his play gym. He still doesn’t like changing clothes, or taking his reflux medicine.
But, we ran out of it the weekend before his appointment, and guess what – he didn’t seem any worse. Then to celebrate Brian’s race, I ate some buttermilk pancakes, and the next day he had a rough time. so (unfortunately for me) the milk elimination diet might be working! Or, it could be that he’s just growing out of it (which would be great, because I’m seriously craving chocolate, macaroni and cheese, and cupcakes. And don’t even talk about pizza, I might cry).
In other good news, my mystery hives seem to be finally going away. You know, I think all along they might have been stress-hives. It’s not like I haven’t had any of that in the last two months!
But it finally feels like we’re figuring out our “new normal,” as someone told us we would. There’s still times I feel at a loss as a mom, and there’s still mountains ahead to climb in the near future. But today, it’s nice to rest, and catch my breath.